How did Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh start?
We started in 2012 as three lawyers who established a partnership. Several months ago, we merged with Adv. Michael Decker and formed the partnership Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh. Our rm now has two o ces; one in Jerusalem and one in Petach Tikvah. B”H we are expanding and will soon need to hire more employees.
Which areas of law does your firm practice?
Our firm practices in all civil law areas, with a specialization in Israeli real estate and immigration law. The area of real estate law requires speci c knowledge, especially in a city like Jerusalem where each property may have a history. We assist property owners with management of the property, especially if they live outside Israel. We also have a unique specialty in immigration law to Israel for foreign citizens wanting to make Aliyah, as well as Israelis seeking to immigrate to the United States. We also advise on issues of US law and taxation. Other than that, we practice litigation, commercial law, contracts, labor law and establish and give ongoing consultation to companies.
How do your individual areas of expertise synthesize to create a complete law practice?
Our team consists of professionals who are not only legally qualified, but also come from different demographic and educational backgrounds. We speak a number of di erent languages, including Hebrew, English, Yiddish, French, Russian, Romanian and German. This not only gives us a common language with our clients, but enables us to meet their needs and make them feel at home.
For example, prior to his army service, Advocate Yaakov Cimerring studied in Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut. In addition to his law degree, Yaakov has a B.A. in Business Administration from IDC Herzliya, specializing in real estate finance, which allows him to help our clients in preparing business plans and utilizing companies. Advocate Alex Brosh speaks mother-tongue Romanian and Russian, as well as Hebrew and English.
Must lawyers in Israel be members of the Israeli Bar Association?
Yes, every Israeli lawyer must be a member of the Israeli Bar Association. It is possible for an attorney from abroad who passes an exam to register with the Israeli Bar Association as a foreign attorney who is licensed abroad. Although these foreign lawyers hold certain legal capabilities in Israel, they are still not licensed Israeli lawyers. It is therefore important to ask every attorney if he is licensed in Israel, and be sure you are provided with a license number. In our rm, James Cohen is registered in the Israeli Bar Association as a foreign attorney, which allows us to deal with the American authorities as well as tackle US tax issues, immigration and citizenship to the US and so on.
What necessary services do you provide for someone coming on Aliyah?
Thank G-d, with the help of the Jewish Agency, the Ministry of the Interior and NGOs such as Nefesh b’Nefesh, most Jews are able to make Aliyah without the need for a lawyer. However, some individuals are not “tailored” to the definitions of the Law of Return, have a criminal record, encounter problems in providing proof of their Judaism or they get stuck in the Israeli bureaucracy to the point where they are ready to give up. In such cases, they need to consult with an immigration expert. Our Immigration Department has helped many to make Aliyah and fulfill their dream of living in the Holy Land, even after they were initially rejected by the Israeli authorities.
Do you think the new Trump administration will have an effect on Aliyah or immigration to the US?
It is very hard to say at this preliminary stage, but we already see an increasing interest in immigration to Canada rather than the US. There is a feeling that immigrants are no longer as welcome in the US as they once were. However, we do not see a significant difference regarding Israelis interested in Green Cards. There was a question whether Israeli citizens who were born in the seven Muslim countries who were prevented from entering the US would be
a ected by the presidential order, however the American Embassy in Israel has clarified that this ruling does not affect Israelis.
How do you deal with the emotional strife related to wills and inheritances following the death of a family member?
We recommend our clients prepare a written will specifying their desires and wants to prevent fighting and discomfort among the inheritors. These issues may cause emotional turmoil within a family, but making them with the help of a lawyer while a person is alive, is a way to prevent long legal battles between the inheritors.
Does your firm contact clients on an annual basis to advise them about changes in the law and to update the wills according to life changes?
In order to give stability to the society, Israel does not rush into making drastic changes regarding its laws. Whenever there is a change relevant to any of our clients, we study the matter and update and inform them if there are any ramifications.
Real estate is usually the single largest asset most people own. How can using the right lawyer secure these assets?
Purchasing an apartment as a home is usually the single most expensive and critical decision a person can make. Therefore, it is normal to have concerns and dilemmas in such a process. It is important to choose a lawyer who not only knows how to create the right contract, but is also aware of other variables, such as market pricing, mortgage planning, transactions and more. Our Real Estate Department helps our clients in real estate transactions, including money transfers overseas at minimal cost and in a safe manner.
How can an experienced attorney help clients avoid costly pitfalls even though they are already using a professional real estate agent?
It is important to understand the difference between the realtor’s job and the attorney’s role in the process. It is the attorney’s responsibility to not only prepare the contract, but also check for any legal issues that may come up from such transactions. We have had some situations where we advised our clients not to make a transaction due to the potential risks involved.
Do real estate lawyers advise on mortgage-related issues?
Traditionally it is not the attorney’s responsibility to give advice on such matters, and it is usually not his expertise. However, our Real Estate Department consists of attorneys with a financial background, in addition to their legal expertise. Therefore, we are able to answer questions regarding the mortgage.
What should you look out for when buying an apartment on paper?
It is very important to make sure the contractor is trustworthy and has extensive experience in the field. You also need to make sure the project has a bank guarantee and that your rights are protected throughout the process and until you take possession of the property. A competent lawyer in this field will have various ways to protect the rights of a client that is purchasing an apartment that is not yet built.
Is it common practice to ask a prospective lawyer for references of satisfied clients?
It is not common in Israel, due to attorney-client privilege, and perhaps due to the Israeli mentality, but it is common for individuals to recommend a specific law firm. This is how most of our clients approach our firm.
What are the three key questions a client should ask before hiring a lawyer?
Do you have experience in the field? To verify they are the right person for the job.
Are you available to handle this case timewise? To ensure the lawyer has time for the case.
Who will do the actual work on the case? To make certain the work will be done by the lawyer himself and not sta that is not adequately trained for this sort of legal work.
How critical is the chemistry between attorney and client to achieve a good working relationship?
Like every business in the world, the better the relationship between the parties, the better the outcome and the greater the satisfaction for both parties. The lawyers in our rm most always connect well with our clients and make their issues our own. To us this is chemistry.
Jerusalem Ben Hillel St 12 Petach Tivka Amal St 37